Though Alysha Devereux now lies unresponsive in the intensive care ward of Joondalup Health Campus, her video messages speak loudly for her.
Three weeks ago, the 17-year-old tried to take her life in the backyard of her Clarkson home. She was not breathing when she was found and now she hovers between life and death in hospital.
Her distraught mother Roxanne Devereux, relatives and friends wait anxiously at her bedside, praying she will show a flicker of life.
Before Alysha attempted suicide on October 29, she had her say about the depression that has blighted her life for the past four years and WA's mental health services. Ms Devereux, who later found the videos on her daughter's iPad, said she released the videos to _The West Australian _because Alysha wanted her message heard.
"She wanted to make a difference. She wanted to make a point that the mental health system is not working. She made the point that more people are going to die if they don't get help," she said.
Alysha recorded her first message just before she attempted suicide in September. Tearfully, the teenager explained how her depression forces her to be unhappy.
"I've just watched a video about suicide and how it's not the only answer," she sighs desperately. "I have been through this more times than I can count. It's not like I have a bad life. I have a great life. I don't know why I always feel like this."
Alysha, who worked in child care until her recent bout of depression, tells her family she loves them and she cannot help the way her brain feels. "I hate that what I'm going to do is going to affect so many people . . . but I just don't see another way out. There's nothing available for another way out," she said.
Her quiet voice dissolved to almost a whimper as she ended by begging her family: "Don't think any less of me because of what I'm doing please."
Roxanne Devereux wept quietly as she played the message in the home she shares with Alysha and her 10-year-old daughter, Brianna.
The dining room table has become a shrine to Alysha as she fights for life 10km away. Framed school photographs show Alysha at different stages of her life. There is a large homemade card, filled with get-well messages from her child-care centre colleagues, as well as a beaded necklace they made for her.
Her sister has made her a book filled with pressed wildflowers.
Alysha first experienced depression when she was bullied in Year 8. She saw child mental health specialists a few times, although Ms Devereux sums up the help offered as "not much".
She said that after Alysha attempted suicide in September, police came to the hospital to take her to the Bentley Adolescent Unit as an involuntary patient, Alysha's second brief stay in the 12-bed clinic, WA's only secure psychiatric unit for 12 to 18-year-olds. Ms Devereux said both times Alysha was taken there after a suicide attempt she was discharged the next day.
"She was in the waiting room, packed, with her bags waiting for me. I didn't get to speak to anybody. Nobody spoke to me. She just rang me and said 'come and get me'," she said.
The family were then told they would have to wait three weeks before they could get an appointment at the local child and adolescent mental health clinic.
"She said, 'I can't wait three weeks, Mum, I can't wait three weeks'. We went to Joondalup hospital and asked them again, they said no again and there was nowhere else you can go but Bentley. She knew she still wanted to harm herself, that she was not safe," Ms Devereux said.
Chief executive Kempton Cowan said Joondalup Health Campus had an adult mental health unit but lacked facilities to look after children or adolescents with serious mental health conditions.
Before her appointment arrived, Alysha made her second video and shortly afterwards the suicide attempt that could soon end her life.If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or go to online crisis support chat at lifeline.org.au
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